Farewell to a mentor.

15 08 2012

I learned today that Mr. Frank Farina passed away early this morning.

Mr. Farina was the band and musical director at my high school, North Allegheny.

You can say what you want about NA. I know I’ve heard awful things, had people walk away from me because I went there. But here I am, college degree and back in school for another degree. Whatever. It’s just a darn school.

Back to Frank Farina.

When I first joined the marching band, whoo boy, was he scary. He stood on the auditorium stage and yelled. Are you a load (someone late to call time.)? I seriously hoped I wasn’t… He put you to place. He was demanding, but understanding. That man had a great heart. And I learned so much from him.

To stand in line.

To march.

To FEEL the music.

To DANCE, kind of like the Ohio University band did…

(I swear on my life, the day that the OU band came through my quad at OU, I cried, remembering what we did at NA) Especially because I didn’t have the time to devote to that amazing band. I wish I had, but I didn’t.

To LOVE the music.

To be the person you were meant to be.

To succeed in music. And life.

To be in multiple honor bands.

To try to quit. Have your parents tell you NO. And on top of that, to have Frank Farina, tell you no, you cannot quit marching band.

To give you another instrument. One you’d amazingly succeed with. A baritone horn.The euphonium.  One that Mr. Farina would challenge you to try out for an honor band. And you make it. And you have a solo. An epic solo, in your mind…

I still can’t decide if I love the sound of the clarinet or the euphonium more… We’re tied…

The one you actually tried to play in the symphony band at OU, because you loved the trust that man gave you, but couldn’t find the hours or place for practice…

I will always regret that last part. That I could not find the time or place….

I still remember practicing my clarinet when my parents would have liked to run for the hills over the noise.

I remember so many band camps. Yes, I know, it happened at band camp… But for most of us, those who I know? it didn’t. It was fun. It was hard.

I’d like to think I never let you down. I love music of all kinds. Really. And I love to dance, when I can…. It will never end. I’m now dancing in my seat to things my lovely niece loves… It will never end…

I will miss you so much, Mr. Farina. I can’t even put it into words. But my tears will make you understand. I play music in my mind, for you. As I have for years.

Thank you, Mr. Farina, for giving my music a voice and a path to follow.

I will come pay my respects to you on Sunday. It’s probably going to be a very hard thing for me… Alone. Thank god I’m a strong woman.
You leaving this earth is going to take multiple trips to the symphony or NA band stuff for me to be ok…

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Big Sister Behavior.

30 07 2012

And I am a Big Sister. To Lili. And now, Little C is a big sister to G-man….

So… I’ve tried every time I see Little C lately, to help her be a good big sister. It’s hard. So hard.

Mommy loves you, but she has to re-direct most of her attention to your sibling, boy or girl. And those small little sisters or brothers? They need a lot of attention. If you’re three at the time, or five as I was.  It’s really hard to be a good big sibling, with only two of you. I know this. I lived it.

So, The Nana fed me some info that C wasn’t being so nice at bedtime.

I told The Nana I would withhold the Big Sister Date. It’s really a big deal for Little C and I. It’s an EVENT! But Nana said withholding stuff didn’t work.

So, I sent Lili a message. If Little C continued her behavior, I would cancel our  Big Sister Date. It’s our day, to go eat lunch out, go the playground, spin stories and have a blast… I honestly did NOT want to cancel it, but if she continued biting and hitting? I would be a bad Aunt to let this go.

I would cancel our date. Not only our date, but A BIG SURPRISE I had for C.

Turns out, Lili told Little C about this message.

The response was not what I wanted. I talked to Lili today… She said when she told Little C, she cried and thought I didn’t love her anymore. Lili told her there was nothing she could do, ever, that would make me not love her. (that is 100% true) But that I wanted her to be a better Big Sister…

It makes me sad that Little C thought I wouldn’t love her. She is the human I love most on the planet. I told her so, earlier tonight.  And she told me she was a good girl all day today!

I can’t wait to see her face, running to me, in the Ft. L airport on Wednesday afternoon. It will be the best feeling ever, to hug her. And then to hug her brother. My tough guy, G-man. Or my monkey. Good grief, that boy is going to test my endurance it seems.

And then to hug my sister.

And my girl, Little C and I, we will have our date… because she is a good girl. A very good little lady.

Then, I will give them my surprise. It’s not someone in person. It’s just me and someone who really wants to tell G-man happy 1st birthday!





Gecko.

25 05 2012

image

See that itty, bitty, tiny gecko on the window? At the bottom. He’s really tiny…

That little dude welcomed himself into my parents home the other day when they went out to get their morning newspaper. He just ran right in. As if he lived there.

I don’t even assume I live there as much as this little dude did.

(Knowing NONE of what I just said….) My mom randomly said, ‘Oh, if you see a gecko, let us know. We think one wandered in.’ Gee, thanks mom. Can’t wait to go to sleep…

The next day, papa and I are hanging out, and I happen to look to the window, and there he is…

I said, “Dad, you may want to see this…” And Papa jumped up, told me to go get the broom… So I did, (I always do what Papa tells me. It’s the best decision. Ever.)

I won’t tell you what papa did to get him. I’ll just tell you I used Clorox wipes to clean up…My dad did NOT make a mess… I just felt the need to clean…  You can blame that on what papa did, or the fact that I use Clorox wipes every other minute at clinical… Your choice…

Whatever your choice and decision, the little gecko is gone. If my Echo was still alive and in the house, she would have trapped it, and presented it to Papa, as a gift. NOT. EVEN. KIDDING. It’s only right that Papa trapped and dealt with it in the same room that Echo still lives on……….. Nana and Papa know what I mean with that statement…

Good lord, I miss my Echo…





I love her so much.

25 02 2012

I came home tonight to a letter sized envelope from Lili. I rarely, if ever, get mail from family…

I wondered why she sent me snail mail… I picked up the envelope, and felt something inside… I was wondering what could be in the envelope…

I instantly hoped it was a gift from Little C. Something inside and letter from Lili or something.

What I opened, was so awesome. It made my day, my week… My month.

Good grief, I’m blessed with Little C… PROOF:

It apparently says "Aunt Claire" at the top. I love.

People, there are puffy heart stickers all over that sucker!!!!!! That’s what I felt!

I called Lili and C before I even took off my coat because I was so happy. They made my month!!!

It says, somewhere on the top “this means Aunt Claire.” How can I not love this little girl? Impossible. She’s so amazing.

I can’t wait until we’re roomies in May for my eldest nephew’s wedding. We’re going to party hard. (aka dance our pants off at the wedding and watch Disney movies the night or two before until we   can’t watch anymore.)

I feel like I win something right now, if at the least, the love of a niece. I love it. And I love her more than anything. She made my day, week, and month with this pic, now on my fridge. Thank you so much Lili, for mailing that to me!!! Her art has taken over my fridge. I

I love it.

God help me when G-man starts moving around and drawing. I’m going to have to invest in tape to put the artwork on the walls… (G! I know you’re content to sit, but start moving cutie-pie!!!)





Reviewing my life.

1 01 2012

I’m incredibly blessed to have parents who allow me to be a kind of hoarder. A girl who throws things away, but can’t give it all away.

My parents moved to Florida with not one, but three or four containers which housed things from grade K – college.

But I had to clear that crap out this past visit. And clear it out, I did. (I threw away, donated approximately 90% of what I saved.)

Anyway, why I’m talking about this is because some things hit me, and my parents with a big old *smack.* Sometimes funny. Sometimes (me) tears.

The sad stuff, first.

I was given three stuffed animals/dolls etc, before age 4. I love all three. They mean a lot to me.

1) My doll, Julie. A Madame Alexander doll. My parents gave this to me when I was two years old. Still have her. (she is totally falling apart. And lives with my parents now, not in a storage box, until we can figure out how to fix her.)

2) A teddy bear my not-to-be-talked-about brother gave me. My bear is in my apartment and I love it.

3) Dexter. The railroad dog. I honestly thought this stuffed animal was somewhere in my apartment. For years! But he wasn’t. I pulled him from the ugly plastic thing I have had since the day I went into college… The container was kind of moldy. I considered throwing Dexter away. Then my dad walked out. And I looked at my mom. And then my dad.

You see, Dexter has an extra story.

My father worked with this man, Bob. Apparently, this man, Bob, thought I was pretty cool. And every time my mom took me to see my dad in downtown Pittsburgh at work, Bob would make tease me. I’d get new shoes, and show up in the office with my mom, to show my dad my fancy new shoes… And Bob, he’d say, “Oh, Claire, your new boats are so beautiful!” or “Your new suitcases are great!” (I had big feet for my age as a kid… Whatever.)

My mom and dad and I aren’t sure where Dexter came to be. We’re sure it was a birthday.

The reason that he means so much to me is just after I was given Dexter, Bob passed away. In a very bad car accident.

So when I saw Dexter, and realized he was not, in fact, in my apartment, and was a part of my life I was trying to toss out, I cried. (no big surprise, I’m the world’s biggest strongest softy. True story. I admit it.)

The funny thing is, I still remember visiting my dad’s office then. Bob and Myrle and my daddy. Opening Myrle’s bottom file to find the toys she kept there for me. And hearing Bob comment on my shoes. Even now, I remember.

So I saved Dexter. I had to.  Out of all the elementary, middle and high school memories I found in those containers, all the papers, the written word, the art, the paper music, the wooden clarinet, the tchotchkes… All the crap I saved.

I had to save Dexter. The Nana put him in the dry cleaning bag, and he looks a bit better. She is going to save him for me, along with Julie.

All in all, I tossed a bunch of stuff I will never miss. I saved some stuff that made me or The Nana laugh our bums off. And all of my sheet music and my clarinet. And some little things I may want to give Little C when she reaches certain ages… Just one or two.

The funny… There is ONE thing, that I wrote, after looking at a zillion pages of crap, that I swear on my life, left The Nana nearly in tears. And The Papa nearly as well…

The photo:

The story:

“Once upon a time there was a spider. He was lonely. He had no friends. Then, one day I went out to my dad’s garden. I found him. I said ” AAAA!!” My dad came out. He said “What’s the matter?” There’s a spider in the garden.” I said.” “A what?” My dad said. “A spider.” I said. Finally, my dad killed it.”

I read that story to my co-worker at My Living Room the other day. He said I built it up to something it totally wasn’t. True story.

I hope I tell better stories now. Who knows. I’m just super happy The Papa killed that spider. Whether it was real or not. Thanks, Papa.

P.S. I got a STAR on that essay/writing thing. I must have thought I won the world at grade 1 or 2… Who knows. No date on the paper. Sad. 😦





Little C talks a lot.

28 11 2011

I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Florida. I flew into Tampa on Monday night, expecting to spend a day or two at my parents house, but The Nana and I ended up getting up early on Tuesday and driving to Lili’s house. No complaints here…

I was so excited to see Little C. I had the most amazing time, spending nearly all of my time with C. She’s so verbal for a 2 year old, and happy and fun. I have never wanted to be more silly, and not care who sees that I’m being silly, than I am when I’m with Little C. At home, in stores, at the beach, in the car… Where ever… Silly is our common ground, it seems. (So is cuddling and watching Disney movies.)

Being that C is so talkative, and smart, and hilarious… Here are a few things that have stuck in my brain since the trip. Little C does, in fact, talk a LOT.

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Right after I arrived, I gave Little C a cool Disney Princess sticker thing. We were playing with the stickers, and she said, “Aunt Claire, I’m so happy you’re here!” Pause, while I melt…. She has no idea that part of what my life entails right now is because of and inspired by her… (I’ll tell her later. Much later.)

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On Wednesday, we were going to go to the mall. So Little C and I headed outside to the van. When we got outside, we ran into two of Little C’s friends. Older kids who live in the neighborhood. She loves these older kids, and calls them her friends. Considering they came by when they saw her and talked to her & I, she’s totally right. These older kids ARE her friends…

She loves when they are out, and can play with them. Since we saw them on their bikes, the following happened later in the day

Little C: “Aunt Claire, did you bring your bike with you? Will you ride bikes with me and my friends?”

Little C clearly thinks I can bring very large things like bikes on the airplane! Also, she assumes that I own a bike… (I did, but I gave it to Lili…)

I answered that I did not, in fact, bring my bike.

Lili: “Hey! We have my and BIL’s bikes at the house. I think my tires are shot, but maybe Claire can ride one of those with you!”

There is more of a story here. I fell off BIL’s bike. So did Papa. But this post is about Little C.

I ended up riding my old bike, now Lili’s, with Little C a few days. It was F.U.N.

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When we went to the mall, Little C asked if I would join her on the mall train ride. Of COURSE, I said yes. And I did.

I folded myself into a toddler train thing, and woo-boy, did we have fun! We were in the front car, and got to ring the bell, as much as Little C and I wanted to. (Pretty sure I pulled the cord more than C!) But, after the ride, as my sister and I agreed, the ride goes about 3 rounds too much. But it was so much fun for us to sit up front and ring the bell.

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Little C also went to see Santa at the mall.  She did not sit on his lap. She does her own thing, apparently. She walked up with her Mommy, talked to him for a second or two, and gave him a hug, and got a lollipop.

I’m so proud of C for going up to, and just standing and talking to Santa. And for hugging Santa. That’s my girl. She is a hugger. Her hugs rock.

The lollipop he gave her was not sugary. It was some sort of mint, so she gave it to me. She did try it a few times after giving it up, and again told me to take it.

And for me to be there and experience it with Little C. It was, um, AWESOME!

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After Thanksgiving dinner, Nana put out a new kitchen towel. It had a snow scene on it with a snow man and woman… It is actually quite adorable…

Little C saw it and the following happened:

Little C: “Oh, it’s so beautiful!” And ran over to it.

Little C: “Nana, where did you get it?”

Nana: (a little dumbfounded because of Little C’s excitement said,) “Um, Kohl’s, I think.”

Little C: (immediatly does an about-face and hugs her Nana and says, “Oh, thank you, Nana. It’s so beautiful.”

She then ran off to tell her Mommy about it. And her Papa. Hah.

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There was only one small disappointment in the visit. Dance class.

I never even asked about this, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Turns out, everything was out of my hands and wishes.

Lili told us they had dance class on the night before Thanksgiving. So Papa and I were super excited to attend dance class. We showed up, and two of Little C’s friends, one friend’s dad and another friend’s grandmother were there with the mommies and daughters. The door was locked.

Turns out, another Mommy (or two mom’s, IDK) had to back out for some reason. And the dance teacher thought class was cancelled.

Everyone was bummed out. Especially the daddy, grandmother, Papa and I. And even moreso, the little girls.  The girls managed to hug it out, though. So cute.

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I really, really wish that I had thought to ask Nana or Lili to Flip-Cam our dancing parties that we had. Even in the back of the van (where ONLY the big girls can sit!) We are really good dancers, Little C and I.

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Worst part was leaving. Of course…

When I told Little C during our Big Sister date that I was leaving that night and was sad to leave her, she grabbed my hand with both of hers. She said, “Don’t be sad, Aunt Claire.”

So wise, for a 2 yo.

And when I started to cry about an hour before I had to leave… Poor C. She didn’t know what to do. First she flung herself face first into the couch, also sad.

I tickled her and cajoled her into coming up for air…

I got a gigantic hug, and managed to explain to her that I would miss her, that I was sad, and that she had better be a good girl since her Elf on the Shelf (Jolly, is his name) was watching her… And that as long as Jolly told Santa she was good, I would be seeing her at Christmas at Nana & Papa’s house…

She really is a good girl. Just testing her boundaries as a 2 year old. Hard to handle, but she really is just a kind little soul.

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I was also told, numerous times, sometimes a few times a day, “Aunt Claire, I love you.”

Unprompted. And not in reaction to me saying, “C, I love you.” I never once said I love you first. She did. I only say it first over the phone!

It was awesome, and I told my lovely that I loved her too.

She is so awesome. I’m so blessed to have her in my life.

I can’t wait until G-man is bigger and I can talk about him too!!!





Midterms & clinical.

13 10 2011

Midterms are over. Whew… Side note: How am I halfway through this semester already? Didn’t I just start last week?

I got a C on my A&P lab practical midterm. Not as well as I thought I’d do, especially since I studied for it way more than Radiology.

Also, I forgot about a quiz that happened after the midterm. Oops. Got a D.

I’m not happy with this, and that just means more studying in my future. And maybe changing how I study for A&P. And maybe I’ll ask my sister for more help, since she is the A&P master in my life… We’ll see. (Side note: I should have asked Lili for help on the muscles and nerves. I asked for help on the skull, and missed nothing on those questions. I missed mostly muscle/nerve stuff. Should have asked…)

Pretty sure I have a B overall in the class so far though.

As for Radiology, I got a 91%, which you’d think would be an A, but it’s not. It’s a B. And I’m happy with that. I missed only 9 questions, and to be honest, I thought I missed ten!

I have a B for sure in that class.

I have been doing pretty great on the lecture quizzes. Mostly B’s, even an A in there! Two C’s and finally a B on the last lab positioning quiz! (Total shocker. I though I bombed the quiz.)

So I’ll carry on as normal with Rad. Maybe study a bit more to up my grade.  I know what to do in the labs. How to position the patient, etc. But the quizzes confuse me, but I did 10% better on the last quiz, which I thought I did awful on! Overall, I’m very happy with how I’m doing in the class.

Onto clinical observation.

I love it. I totally picked the right medical field to enter. I knew this each time I called my family and felt myself smiling when I tell them about my day. And tonight when my friends at work asked me about school, and I found myself smiling and telling them how much I love clinical… Yep, love it.

The people at my clinical site are nice, funny, and kind. All of them that I’ve met. I’m trying to combat my inability to remember names, and have been quite successful so far!

I cannot, and will not share much about clinical. Now or later. Right now, I basically follow a 2nd year or a radiology tech around and watch what they do. You see a LOT of stuff, and I still love it. I’m pretty sure I’d rather work in a hospital environment when I’m employed rather than a private office. I enjoy the randomness of it.

And I love it. I really do. I’m so happy I made this choice. Even if it’s hard work to be studying 24/7 (or so it seems) and have no social life in any way.

Best choice ever. And the best part ever? My parents are proud of me. As is Lili. And NE.

Some day, I will have to explain this to Little C. Right now? I observe at a doctor’s office and will help to take pictures of people’s insides. Uh. Yeah. Lili and I have to talk about this, since Little C will eventually have to talk about this.

All in all, I’m seriously happy I made this choice. I’m loving every minute of it. (Well, except for the fact I crash on school nights by 10pm at the latest, and wake at 6am 3 days/week… But I’m getting used to it!)

Funny thing is, I’ll probably work nights when I get a job as a Rad Tech. Some people hate that. And have said so. Me? I’m like OMG PLEASE TO GIVE ME THAT JOB!

We’ll see.

Loving it so much and so hard right now. Best choice ever. I’m ridiculously happy even though all I do is study and work. Super happy.